Make Sure Mortgage Relief Programs Really Aren’t Taking Your Cash

January 21st, 2012

The 2008 sub-prime mortgage meltdown and resulting financial crisis means credit is not that easy to come by anymore.  This forces some of us to have to look for alternatives to conventional mortgage lenders (national banks, regional banks, mortgage brokers, and credit unions) in order to find a way to save our homes.

This kind of “market opportunity” is pulling swindlers out of the woodwork to target those of us in desperate need of a lending solution.  Frequently, these products are advertised as “foreclosure rescue” loans, “loan modification” instruments, or “mortgage relief” plans.

Here’s how the scams work: In order to save your house, you will be asked to pay a “deposit” to secure the loan and cover any fees, transaction costs, and even taxes.  Sometimes you might even be told to make your monthly mortgage payment directly to the lending company, with the understanding that they will send it to your lender.  Some con-artists will even bury language that transfers the deed of your home to them in the fine print of the contract.

What happens then is that the homeowner pays the deposit and/or mortgage payment, never sees a penny of the supposed loan, and the swindler that was peddling the “loan” disappears without a trace.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Be extremely cautious of any company advertising that they guarantee they will save your home from foreclosure.
  • Charging upfront fees for mortgage relief services is illegal.  So, if a company or salesperson promises to rescue you from a desperate mortgage situation in exchange for an upfront fee, report them to your state attorney general’s office.
  • Don’t fill out any forms or sign any contracts without thoroughly reading them first, including the fine print.
  • If you find that you are in jeopardy of losing your home, call your lender and find out if you can negotiate more reasonable repayment terms.
  • You can also call the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting homeowners at (888) 995-HOPE.

 

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Sometimes termed “mouse print” or, more benignly, “disclosure language”, and presented in miniscule font. It is there to take back every enticing offer made in the ad.

A written, legally-enforceable representation that a product or service will meet a given standard of quality and/or performance. A word that, whether used in its noun, verb, or adjective form by advertisers, should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism by consumers

A non-profit dedicated to assisting homeowners in saving their homes. HPF can be reached at (888) 995-HOPE and their bilingual services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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